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Chargers place LT Gaither on IR

Chargers place LT Gaither on IR

SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Chargers placed left tackle Jared Gaither on injured reserve Friday, ending an unproductive season for a player expected to shore up a shaky offensive line.

``We've given Jared Gaither every opportunity to be a part of this team and it just hasn't worked out,'' said coach Norv Turner, who clearly was disappointed at the way the lineman's season has gone.

``Obviously, physically he hasn't been able to be part of it.''

Asked if he was happy with the work ethic of the 6-foot-9, 335-pound Gaither, the coach said: ``It is what it is. There's not really a lot left to be said about it.''

Gaither played in only four games this season. He missed almost all of training camp and the first three games with a back injury. He injured his groin late in a loss at New Orleans and played in only two games since.

In the closing seconds of the Saints game, with the Chargers desperately trying for the tying touchdown, Martez Wilson blew past the hobbled Gaither on Philip Rivers' blind side for a strip-sack and recovered the fumble to preserve the Saints' 31-24 victory.

Gaither was signed off waivers after Marcus McNeill was hurt late last year, and played well in the final five games. The Chargers gave Gaither a four-year, $24.5 million contract in March.

Rivers has been under siege most of the season because of the line's poor play. Adding to San Diego's woes was the retirement of left guard Kris Dielman due to a concussion.

Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions and lost four fumbles this season, giving him 43 turnovers since the start of the 2011 season.

Undrafted rookie Mike Harris has filled in for Gaither, and will have to face Terrell Suggs of the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

``I don't know what we would have done without him,'' Turner said about Harris. ``He's a guy who's improved and working as hard as he can. He's been in some tough matchups and he's managed to the best of his ability.''

Asked if he'd like to see Gaither back next year, Turner said: ``You know, we're going to start getting those questions about a lot of things. I'm interested in doing what we can to give this team the best chance to win the Baltimore game. Obviously, after that we move on to the next opponent.''

Turner is expected to be fired if the Chargers miss the playoffs for the third straight season. At 4-6, the Chargers have all but ceded the AFC West title to the Denver Broncos and are a longshot to secure a wild-card berth.

The Chargers are expected to sign tackle Kevin Haslam from the practice squad to the active roster.

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Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

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USA Today Sports

Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

Mark your calendars now because the Ravens are already gearing up for their 2018 season.

From the Pro-Bowl all the way to the start of the regular season, here are the key dates.

January 28th: Pro Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 

Safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will all be in attendance. In addition, Suggs and Weddle were named starters. The game will take place at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN.

February 3rd: Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 Class announced

This will be a very important day for Ray Lewis and the Ravens organization as Lewis waits to here if he will be sealed into football history, one day prior to Super Bowl LII. 

February 5th: Waiver system takes effect

The waiver system allows players' contracts or a club's NFL rights to a player available to other clubs in the league. Upon doing this, the other 31 teams can place a claim to obtain him or waive their chance. During this 24- hour period, once a club waives a player it can not take the player back or change his status. Assignments are based upon draft order until the third week of the regular season. If a player does not get claimed, he becomes a free agent. 

February 20th:  First day to franchise or transition tag a player

February 27th- March 5th: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, IN

This seven day period will be crucial for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to get a good look at potential Ravens.

March 6th: Deadline to franchise or transition tag a player

March 12-14th: Teams are allowed to contact and negotiate with agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents

March 14th: Start of new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET

At this time, all 2017 player contracts expire meaning teams can begin seeking and signing free agents. Ravens free agents include Mike Wallace, Benjamin Watson, Ryan Jensen, Terrance West, James Hurst, Michael Campanaro, Steven Johnson, Ryan Mallet, Brandon Boykin, Crockett Gillmore, Brent Urban and Luke Bowanko.

March 25-28th: Owners Meeting, Orlando, FL

April 16th: Voluntary OTA's can begin

April 20th: Deadline for restricted FA's to sign offer sheets

April 26th-28th: 2018 NFL Draft, Arlington, TX

The Ravens will be heading down to Arlington, Texas in hopes of picking up their next franchise player. Positions needed include wide receiver, tight end, quarterback and outside linebacker.

May 4-7th or 11-14th: Potential three-day rookie minicamp

May 31-June 2nd: Ravens Beach Bash, Ocean City, MD

July 16th: Deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player 

Mid-Late July: Training camp begins

August 2nd: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH

August 4th: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Canton, OH

Again, keep this date marked as it could be the day Ray Lewis is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

September 6th: Start of regular season 

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Don Martindale promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator

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USA Today Sports

Don Martindale promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has promoted linebackers coach Don Martindale to defensive coordinator, assuring a seamless transition in the wake of Dean Pees' retirement.

Martindale has been coaching Baltimore linebackers since 2012. The 54-year-old was the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in 2010.

After Pees ended his six-year run as the Ravens' defensive coordinator on Jan. 1, Harbaugh said he wanted to maintain continuity with his new hire.

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"I'm a believer in this system," Harbaugh said last week. "This system has been something that's been developed for a long period of time, and we have worked really hard every single year to make it better."

Martindale has been part of that process. He coached the Ravens inside linebackers from 2012-15 and spent the past two seasons as the team's linebackers coach.

In announcing the move Tuesday, Harbaugh said Martindale's "aggressive mentality will serve to take our defense to new levels."

Harbaugh said Martindale "knows the ins and outs of what we have been about on defense and has been an important contributor to our success on that side of the ball."

Also on Tuesday, Harbaugh promoted Mike Macdonald to linebackers coach and Sterling Lucas to quality control defense.

The 30-year-old Macdonald joined the Ravens in 2014 as a coaching intern on defense. He served as a defensive assistant in 2015 and 2016, and this season was the defensive backs coach. Baltimore led the NFL this season with 22 interceptions and forced a league-best 34 turnovers.

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